At 16 years old, Duncan Evans’ beloved dog Timmie was in his twilight years. And as he’d gotten older, the dog’s health had deteriorated and his mobility decreased. However, when Timmie could no longer climb the stairs, Evans decided he needed to step in.
Just like humans, our pets suffer the effects of ageing. A person who knows this all too well is graphic designer Evans. The 27-year-old lives with his 16-year-old Jack Russell in Carmarthenshire, Wales. And by December 2017 Timmie was beginning to slow down a little.
In his old age, Timmie was dependent on medication to treat lung problems and his enlarged heart. He also suffered from arthritis. Therefore, all strenuous exercise was out of the question for the little Jack Russell.
With that in mind, walking Timmie was proving increasingly difficult for Evans. But the doting pet owner couldn’t sit back and watch his pet simply wither away. As a result, he came up with an ingenious invention to help Timmie get out and about.
The contraption was an electric skateboard that Evans could ride while dragging his dog behind him in a bicycle trailer. The invention suited Timmie perfectly. He didn’t like being carried. So this meant he could rest his legs on walks while still preserving his dignity.
In November 2017 Evans posted a video on his YouTube channel, Curlykidlife, of himself towing Timmie around. And the footage proved popular among dog lovers, clocking up nearly 3,000 views. Praising Evans, one user wrote, “Huge respect for the love you have for your dog!”
But while Timmie’s daily walks had improved, he was still struggling with life at home. Getting around Evans’ home had become a chore for the senior dog. And the stairs were proving a particular problem for the Jack Russell.
Revealing the problems facing his pet, in December 2017 Evans told WalesOnline, “The stairs were too steep for his little legs. If he went up and down them too much he would come to a stop and I‘d have to carry him the rest of the way.”
Things came to a head when little Timmie suffered a fall, hurting himself in the process. It was then that Evans decided he need to step in and ensure his dog’s safety. So, once again, he put his inventor’s hat on and got to work.
Timmie falling again wasn’t Evans’ only concern. He also worried that the energy required to climb up and down the stairs was putting an added strain on the dog’s already weakening heart. So his owner felt like he would benefit from some sort of helping hand.
Speaking in a video on his YouTube channel in December 2017, Evans explained. “I know he can get up and down the stairs relatively fine. But it’s a case of just preserving his life and preserving the little ticker of his.”
Eventually, Evans decided that a motorized stairlift would best suit Timmie’s needs. “There’s a guy, I’ve seen it on YouTube, and he’s built a stair-climber which obviously gets the dog from the bottom to the top of the stairs, and obviously from the top to the bottom via mechanical means,” he revealed.
So Evans got to work on his creation. However, he wasn’t sure how to approach it. “Do I play it safe and make it really simple (boring) or do I go all out and make it the best thing I can?” he wrote in the video description.
It appears that Evans went for the latter option. Because, when the emerging inventor revealed his creation on YouTube it took the video-sharing site by storm. In a matter of months, it had attracted 13,000 views and several impressed comments.
In the footage, Timmie descends the stairs in his newly-built contraption. Given that the holiday season is well underway, his owner has kitted out his lift to look like a sleigh. And to complete the look, he’s even added a string of festive fairy lights.
Dubbed the “Santa Paws” stairlift, the invention was the best Christmas present Timmie could have wished for. It’s safe to say it has given Timmie a new lease of life. “It took him a bit of training but [he] can manage it all by himself now,” Evans revealed in the video’s description, adding, “What a hero!”
Explaining how the device works, in December 2017 Evans told BBC 5 Live, “I bought car winch, and then the rest was just custom built. So it just winches him up and down. It took him a while to get used to it but now he gets in at the top and he’s calling me down. So I’m sitting at the bottom pressing the button.”
Evans revealed the device cost him a total of £70 ($96) plus the time he put into building it. But to him it was worth every penny. “It does take a long time to get up and down, but it’s a bit of fun,” he explained.
The video of Timmie in his stairlift proved so adorable that news outlets soon picked it up. As a result, in January 2018 Evans revealed the footage had reached more than two million views. Consequently, he’s now eyeing up a lucrative career as an internet sensation.
Speaking to WalesOnline, Evans said, “My passion has become making videos. I’d like to do more how-to ones to help people make the things I make. If I can do that full time and make money, then that’s the ideal situation.”